Splash this almost-free hot vinegar on greens, salads, and potatoes for zippy flavor without added fat or salt. Make it from scraps next time you cook with a jalapeño.
I thought up this recipe while on the SNAPcut Challenge, when I thought: why should I throw away the parts of the pepper with the most heat-giving capsaicin? And so another Something From Nothing recipe was born! It's a great way to extend the value of organic food and to create an organic condiment that might be hard to find.
Homemade Hot Vinegar
Active time: 3 minutes. Total time: 1 day. Yield: 1/2 cup. Doubles easily.
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (make the vinegar yourself to be super thrifty!)
- 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper (seeds, cap, and pith only)
- 1/2 garlic clove
- Put vinegar in a glass jar or other non-reactive container with a lid.
- Prepare a jalapeño to be used in another recipe. Cut stem off pepper cap and compost or throw away. Put pepper cap, seeds, and white pith into vinegar. Slice garlic and add to vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for a day to let flavors combine. (The vinegar will start to pick up flavors right away, so you can use it within an hour or so if you don't mind a milder flavor.)
- Strain vinegar and store in a very clean bottle or jar. Keeps refrigerated for about three months. Use on cooked or raw greens, in salad dressings, in stews, and on baked potatoes.
- Throw flavored vinegars away if they have mold, bubble, or look cloudy, according to this useful guide to making flavored vinegars from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.
- Wear gloves when handling hot peppers and avoid touching the eyes, face, or tender parts of anyone until your hands are very clean again. I usually take my contacts out before preparing a lot of peppers. Even washing your hands several times doesn't necessarily remove all the heat! If I'm handling just a few peppers, I use a light-weight plastic bag as a make-shift glove on one hand.